Last week, a close cousin took to social media to share some extremely exciting news. In a series of posts and text messages, we learned that she had, in the presence of her immediate family and best friend, become engaged. My cousin, a kind and intelligent nurse, was all smiles in the pictures, where she held out her hand to show the ring her boyfriend (an equally good-hearted person) had given her. So today, I thought I would share a bit of that joy with all of you as it’s a very real example of how love and hope continue to exist in a world riddled with violence and epidemics.
I was not surprised, when I checked my phone, to see I had been added to a group chat by my aunt. Since COVID started in March, my extended family and I have experienced a prolonged period of maintaining heavy contact. Like most everyone, the constraints laid in place by isolation and social distancing were overcome by means of Facetime and conference calls. Needless to say, I found myself growing much closer to my extended family than ever before, no doubt as a direct result of the very pandemic that was now separating us.
After graduating college and working in the field, my cousin Joanna decided to pursue career opportunities elsewhere and moved to Kansas City with her boyfriend. Although we were sad to say goodbye, all of us, myself included, were happy to see her living her best life with her beau Brad and wiener dog Frank. So when she came back to visit three weeks ago, I had the immense pleasure of being able to catch up with my cousin over the weekend. I was happy to see that not much had changed: our relationship was relatively unaffected by time or distance and we spoke with the same ease we had done our entire lives.
As the news of her engagement broke, I could not have been happier. Whatever encounters I had had with Brad or the two of them together had shown me, right from the beginning, that my cousin was truly loved and in love. It’s a blessing that COVID-19, which has done its part at changing the world, has indeed failed to change that for my cousin or anyone else who finds themselves, in the midst of a pandemic, ready to profess their love for another. I’ve heard countless stories of weddings and engagements that have taken place during this time. What was once an occasion attended by hundreds of people has shrunk to a more intimate affair with family and close friends. Love can overcome a lot of things, it seems. Even a global pandemic.
So the world has changed but not really. I still felt joy at my cousin’s announcement on Facebook that she had found a boy who truly knew her worth. My heart still felt warm when I realized her immediate family had made the trip down to see her, each playing a part in the proposal as they stood, 6 feet apart, to celebrate their sister and daughter. And I’m still excited at the prospect of a wedding, whether it takes place sooner or later, where I will once again have the honor and pleasure of watching a family member experience a beautiful moment in life. So here’s to Joanna and Brad, to their families, and to anyone else who refuses to allow life to get in the way of their happiness. Cheers, my beautiful, kind, intelligent cousin! You deserve the world and more and I couldn’t be happier for you!
As always, stay safe and hopeful!